Go Organic to Help the Bees

Go Organic to Help the Bees

One could say I’m on a bee kick. A number of my articles mention bees and despite being allergic to them – the last time I got stung I ended up in the ER, where I left with an epinephrine prescription for constant carry – they fascinate me.  Our native plants attract them, the hive under our neighbor’s roof (see photo) houses them, and now a new hive has begun in our palm tree down below. I’m in bee heaven. Then there’s the half dozen I save out of the pool everyday.  [Read more…]

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (California/Southwest)

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (California/Southwest)

In a follow-up to my post (Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)  here are some favorites from two of our homes, both landscaped with natives and other wildlife-attracting plants. (See Our Conversion to Low Water Landscaping). I also asked two friends in Arizona, for their favorites: [Read more…]

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)

In a follow-up to my post (Landscaped Yard Ushers in Butterflies and Birds) about the Damons’ yard in St. Paul MN, I asked Susan for her favorite plants. Most are natives, a couple non-natives. Here is her reply (thanks Susan!) and more photos. [Read more…]

Landscaped Yard Ushers in Butterflies and Birds

Landscaped Yard Ushers in Butterflies and Birds

In an earlier article Going Native: Even Small Amounts Bring Benefits I gave Susan Damon’s yard in St. Paul, Minnesota as an example. Recently I asked her more questions and wanted to share what she and her husband Paul have experienced with their landscaping, along with some photos.
Pesticide Use: Consider the Collateral Damage

Pesticide Use: Consider the Collateral Damage

Asian Citrus Psyllid

A couple things have prompted this post. First, we have a potentially devastating disease hitting citrus trees in SoCal with the arrival of an insect Asian Citrus Psyllid. To combat it, a pesticide spray composed of two common insecticides is being applied to local trees. Second, I read a Sierra magazine article called Parkinson’s Alley, on the high rate of Parkinson’s disease in a Central California town surrounded by high agricultural pesticide use. [Read more…]

To Kill or Not to Kill Spiders….and Do Spiders Bite?

To Kill or Not to Kill Spiders….and Do Spiders Bite?

I read an article in a small newspaper (Coast News  in Encinitas) about spiders and wrote the author thanking her. It quoted her children’s favorite book, Charlotte’s Web, which happens to be my favorite childhood book, and left me a permanent fondness for spiders and pigs.  None in the author’s family would kill spiders and they were in mourning over the death of a big spider that lived on their front porch.

We too do not kill spiders, none outside our house, and inside we transport any outside (my husband’s exception is black widow spiders).  One of our grown sons confided in me that he, too, cannot kill spiders – you never know in what ways you affect your children. [Read more…]